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post #1 of 3 Old 04-24-2019, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Sealing wood for clear coat finish

Hey Everyone,

Been a long time since I last posted! Looks like the forum is going strong :)

My wife has started doing oil paintings of birds on pieces of natural cut wood. Think discs of branches with the bark still on. She likes to use spalted wood as well (maple and walnut so far). The issue is when she wants to cover the wood with a clear finish, the spongy parts of the wood absorb that finish while the harder parts allow the finish to stay on top and give it the desired sheen.

Is there a product that can be used where she can seal the wood first, then paint her birds in oil, and then apply a clear coat finish over top?

Just as a side, she likes to use spar varnish as her finish since it can take a pretty good beating.

Any help would be greatly appreciated :)
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post #2 of 3 Old 04-24-2019, 02:11 PM
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If you mean you are using artist oil paints it is recommended waiting six months before topcoating with anything. It would help the appearance if you would coat the wood with linseed oil before the oil based paint was applied. Once the paint has dried there wouldn't be any problem finishing over everything with water based polyurethane. You wouldn't want to use any kind of oil based finish because in time the finish yellows and would affect the color of the paint. For example if a blue color was used it would gradually become looking green because blue and yellow make green.
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post #3 of 3 Old 04-24-2019, 03:46 PM
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there are a number of ways to address wood that is soft and porous.
most people that I know use two part epoxy, which is very compatible
with Marine Spar Varnish. two coats of epoxy, sand smooth, then varnish.
then apply the artwork over that. (I can't endorse painting over shellac
because I have never done it).
if you look in the Box Stores, you will find several products to fix dry rot in wood.
I see no reason to paint over the artwork. it will spend 99.99% of its life
hanging on a wall or sitting on a mantle, untouched by human hands.
if you overthink it - it will surely be overthunk.

on a personal note:
when I go to craft fairs and I see the paintings that your wife is doing, I take
notice of the craftsmanship in the whole project.
the ones that strike me as being the most professionally done with heart and soul,
are the ones that have all the natural elements left undisturbed.
I like to see brush strokes in paintings. maybe an eyelash or two.
take for example: an old six foot cross-cut logging saw with a nice
mural painted on it. we all have seen this done dozens of times. the ones that
have a clear coat sprayed over the whole entire saw, looks plastic and fake to me.
the ones left with the natural wood handles, some rust on the blade,
with no clear coat on anything - is the one that I would buy.
the same with a split wood log - I would be very, very selective as to how and
where you applied any type of clear coating.
especially if it is not really needed in the project at all.
wishing the both of you all the best in this adventure !!
maybe make a project page here for your wife to exhibit some of her work.

.

.

-- Failure is proof that you at least tried ~ now, go do it again, and again, until you get it right --

Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 04-24-2019 at 04:02 PM.
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